Cuban pianist, composer and arranger Chucho Valdés wins "Best Latin Jazz" GRAMMY® AWARD for his album Tribute to Irakere - Live in Marciac – on Sunday, February 12, 2017 at the 59th Annual GRAMMY Awards in Los Angeles.
Winner of six GRAMMY® and three Latin GRAMMY® Awards, Chucho Valdés is the most influential figure in modern Afro-Cuban jazz.
For Tribute to Irakere Valdés expanded his current group, the Afro-Cuban Messengers to honor the legendary band Irakere. Valdés started Irakere in 1973, recruiting some of his fellow players in the Orquesta Cubana de Música Moderna. That year Irakere recorded their first major hit, “Bacalao Con Pan”. In 1978 the band was flown in from Cuba to the U.S. for a successful surprise appearance at Carnegie Hall as part of the Newport Jazz Festival; that same year they recorded their self-titled album Irakere and won their first GRAMMY for Best Latin Recording. Like Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, Irakere became a rolling graduate school of Afro-Cuban jazz, with alumni including saxophonist Paquito D’Rivera and trumpeter Arturo Sandoval.
“When I decided to do a tribute," says Valdés, "I also decided I didn’t want to do it with the charter members but with players from the generations of musicians that grew up and learned from Irakere. I thought it would be more meaningful. It’s a tribute from one generation to another.” While Valdés called this album a tribute to Irakere, in their review the Wall Street Journal noted, “It sounds more like testimony to the continuity and vitality of a vision that has always spanned borders and genres, conflated centuries, defied politics and, by now, having influenced generations, is bigger than any one band." This project followed Valdés first release on Jazz Village, Border-Free (2013) also featuring The Afro-Cuban Messengers.
Artist's site: Chucho Valdés